Sunday, 28 July 2013

Scottish Branch Hospitality Cruise 2013

The Scottish Branch hospitality cruise will take place on Sunday 4th August as Waverley sails from Glasgow to Lochranza. Members are invited to join the Branch committee on-board and take the opportunity to visit the engine room and/or the bridge.

In addition on Sunday there will be an auction held on the return journey to auction two paintings which have been donated to help raise funds for Waverley. Both paintings are on-board the ship and can be viewed on request at the Souvenir Shop. Indeed closed bids can be placed at the shop and both paintings are framed.

The first painting is an original oil painting of the Clyde Steamer Queen Mary in the Kyles of Bute towards the end of her career in 1977.

The second painting is an original of the Paddle Steamer Caledonia.

Scottish Branch Committee

Monday, 22 July 2013

A Busy Paddler

Waverley has continued to attract the crowds over the past few days. Between Friday and Sunday (19th-21st July) she carried around 2000 passengers. Both Saturday and Sunday were sold out in advance with Sunday having been sold out for a few days. The Sunday cruise to Campbeltown from Glasgow is the longest sail timetabled within the Clyde season. A total of 13 hours was on offer for those passengers who stayed aboard for the full cruise, charged at only £2.85 per hour! A few of Waverley's regular passengers took the option of using the paddler one way and returning on the Isle of Arran as she sailed from Campbeltown to Ardrossan. The Isle of Arran was scheduled to leave Campbeltown at 1655 but as Waverley departed at 1700 prompt the ferry was still loading.

On the return journey Waverley was found to be travelling at just over 16 knots, this turn of speed helped ensure that she arrived back at Lochranza and then Largs on time. The following few pictures were taken over the weekend.

Waverley rests at Tighnabruaich on Saturday 20th July having taken ticket holders only from Glasgow, Greenock and Helensburgh

Leaving Largs for Lochranza on Sunday 21st July
Returning to Campbeltown following her afternoon cruise to the Sanda Isles on Sunday 21st July

Paul Semple

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

PSPS Communications Coordinator(s)

The Society is looking to upgrade its use of digital communications to both attract new members and keep the membership informed.

To achieve this we intend to modernise the principal PSPS website and develop our presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. While our ships are part of our heritage, our membership surely includes people with skills and experience in 21st century digital technologies.

We are seeking volunteers prepared to commit time first to creating a compelling presence, then keeping up a continuing flow of information. The role(s), which may be branch-based, will include liaising with the Editor of Paddle Wheels to disseminate news in the timeliest manner.

If you are interested, fluent and can spare the time, please contact in the first instance Martin Longhurst, who has looked after our web site since 1998, is now keen to reduce his commitments.

To aid your understanding of the role, these Terms of Reference have been drafted and will be considered by the Council of Management on 7 September 2013.
Full details can be found on the PSPS website
Scottish Branch Committee

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

First Call at Girvan in 2013

Waverley made her first call at Girvan on Monday 15th July having sailed from Glasgow via Largs and Ayr to offer her usual Clyde Monday cruise round Ailsa Craig. The following few pictures show her approaching the harbour, berthing and then alongside.

In total she is scheduled to make 4 calls at Girvan as she is only able to enter the harbour when the tide allows. In fact Girvan is the only pier with any significant tidal restriction that she visits regularly on the Clyde.

Waverley makes her approach to Girvan.

Waverley berths at Girvan as the crowd looks on.

Waverley looks impressive once berthed in the small outer harbour.

P Semple

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Scottish Branch Evening Charter Report 2013

In view of the 2012 result for the Branch evening charter the committee looked at possible alternatives to the Greenock, Helensburgh, Blairmore and Loch Long cruise which has been offered for a number of years. The main reason for looking at alternatives was the fact that Waverley was not due to return to the Clyde until the last week in June by which time an evening charter could have been possible on Thursday 27th June. However with the schools in the Greenock area stopping for the summer break on Wednesday 26th June it was felt that this could have had a negative impact on potential passenger numbers.

Several options were discussed for example calling at Dunoon and then cruising down Firth rather than up Loch Long. The real idea for a Largs and Millport evening cruise came when it was apparent that Waverley would be terminating at Largs on the first 2 Thursdays in July and when you consider that she calls at Millport before Largs there was the golden opportunity to overlap the day cruise with an evening cruise. The cruise destination of North Arran added the "one-off" cruise factor which the committee hoped would make it a must do for enthusiasts and the general public alike. In the end the weather was the real icing on the cake and those lucky enough to be aboard got a night to remember. The final result is not yet known but it would appear that this charter will be hard to beat in terms of the funds raised. Once again we should all be grateful for the efforts of Waverley's crew and office staff who also helped make this a successful event.

Captain O'Brian took the steamer down the Western side of Great Cumbrae which meant that all passengers were given a cruise round Cumbrae in addition to the North Arran coast. After passing Garroch Head Waverley steamed direct to Arran. She then cruised from just North of Brodick Bay up the eastern coast passing Corrie until she reached the North end of the island. By the time she turned and headed down the Sound of Bute the sun was starting to lower in the evening sky creating an unforgettable image.

The following pictures were taken on Thursday but they don't fully capture the true atmosphere of the evening.

Waverley approaches Largs Pier at the start of the cruise. (Gordon Wilson)

A very busy scene as 350 disembark while 480 wait to board giving the largest passenger transfer at Largs for some time. (Gordon Wilson)

Looking astern after leaving Largs. (Gordon Wilson)
The Clyde glistens in the evening light. (Roy Tait)
Millport Pier as Waverley departs having dropped off over 190 passengers - a great support from the town. (Gordon Wilson)

If any other supporters have photographs from the charter cruise and would like to share them on this blog please email them to

Further pictures below have been supplied by Ian McLaren following the request above.

Waverley and the 2 Cumbrae ferries at Largs pier after the evening cruise. After all her passengers had disembarked Waverley made her way to Greenock for an overnight berth. (Charles McCrossan)

My personal thanks to all who supported the cruise, assisted with the publicity and the on-board raffle.

Paul Semple

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Resounding Success

This year's Scottish Branch Evening Charter was a tremendous success, thanks in the main to the tremendous efforts of Paul Semple who organised it and promoted it to great effect .... okay maybe the weather helped a wee bit. If this was all that Paul did for the Mighty Paddler in the course of a year it would surely be enough, but those of us that know better, know that he does much, much more. Well done and many thanks, Paul, you are indeed a true friend of the Paddle Steamer Waverley.
S Cameron (Scottish Branch Committee)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ayr to Tarbert

Waverley's Clyde timetable for 2013 once again allows a cruise from Ayr to Tarbert (Loch Fyne) which was the cruise long associated with a Tuesday on the Clyde weekly timetable. Indeed the Tarbert cruise from Ayr has been part of her regular Clyde timetable since her first year in preservation in 1975 although in 1976 it was rostered for a Monday.

The Tarbert sailing from Ayr has been re-timetabled over the years which can be illustrated by comparing some of the seasons timings. The following list shows some of the timings which have been used over the years.

The following pictures were taken on Wednesday 10th July 2013 on the first occasion since 2010 that Waverley has sailed from Ayr to Tarbert and then offered a Loch Fyne cruise.

Tarbert Pier

Returning to Tarbert after the Loch Fyne cruise
Berthing at Tarbert Pier

On this occasion the sailing proved as popular as ever with a good crowd carried and then disembarked at Tarbert for about 90 minutes ashore.
Paul Semple

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Balmoral Appeal Website Launched

A new website has been launched for the Balmoral appeal at The website has been created to help publicise the recently launched public appeal.

The appeal target is for £350 000 so that Balmoral can operate in 2014. Balmoral is currently berthed in Bristol city docks and is being maintained by a dedicated band of volunteers. Recent work has involved making the life-jacket locker above the pursers office water tight. Other basic maintenance is being carried out with her engines being turned over regularly.

If Balmoral is to sail again in 2014 she will need to undergo a major survey and refit to ensure that she is issued a full passenger certificate. If the ship is not successful in renewing her passenger certificate next year than it is highly likely that she will never be able to carry passengers again.

Plans for the 2014 season are being developed by a dedicated team and the outline for her 2014 season is more substantial than her more recent seasons. It is planned that the ship will start in early May on the Bristol Channel before taking part in various events such as "Three Queens in Southampton", the Isle of Wight yacht race and the Tall Ships at Falmouth. It is also planned that Balmoral would visit the Thames, Medway, East Coast, Liverpool, North Wales and Solent with a substantial part of her season on the Bristol Channel. Indeed her provisional programme for 2014 is very exciting and would herald a return to what made her "Britain's most widely travelled excursion ship".

The appeal is being managed through a new company, MV Balmoral Ltd, since currently the PSPS can not raise funds directly for a motor vessel. This new company has Nick James (Chairman WSN), Noel Kemp (Chairman Bristol Channel Branch PSPS) and Ian Clark (previous Waverley & Balmoral Master) as the first 3 directors.

It is strongly believed that Balmoral does have a future if she can be operated in a viable way and in so doing she can help ensure that landing facilities, which Waverley also uses, are maintained. I personally believe that without Balmoral in service and able to carry passengers Waverley is more vulnerable. I would therefore encourage all supporters of both Balmoral AND Waverley to donate what they can to ultimately secure an operational future for both vessels.

Balmoral approaches the North Pier Oban in September 2012

Paul Semple

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

First Ayr call for 2013

On Monday 8th July Waverley had no scheduled sailing as is normally the case for the first couple of Mondays in July. On some occasions in the past the ship would leave Glasgow at 0500 on the Tuesday following the off-service day and run light to Ayr to pick up her 1000 departure. On other occasions she would run light to Ayr on an "off-service" Monday allowing her crew a more civilised "shout" time on the Tuesday morning.

Due to a reception being held on the ship on Monday evening in Ayr harbour Waverley left the Science Centre at 1100 and sailed direct for Ayr. The following sequence of pictures show her entering the harbour, turning into the Griffin Dock before running astern up the River Ayr and berthing at Compass Pier. On this occasion there was a ship on the north side of the harbour making the whole manoeuvre that little harder. As she approached the harbour she was spotted by many on Ayr beach enjoying the good weather.

Waverley passes the harbour entrance


Making the turn for the Griffin Dock

Entering the Griffin dock to berth starboard side

Canting round, note the stern of another vessel on the north wall

Running astern up the river

Berthing at Compass Pier

P Semple

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer arrives on the Clyde

The Clyde season is now in full swing as Waverley makes her way around the many towns and villages of the Firth of Clyde. Over the past few days she has provided the perfect platform to view the Firth in all its spender in perfect sailing conditions.

Waverley arrives back at Tarbert on Wednesday 3rd July after her first Loch Fyne cruise of 2013

Waverley arrives at Greenock Custom House Quay on Sunday 7th July

Berthing at Greenock

Waverley gathers speed going astern from Lochranza Pier in perfect conditions before heading over to Skipness Point

Arriving back at Lochranza as the brakes go on!

Waverley departs Greenock heading up river to Glasgow at the end of a glorious day
The weather forecast for the next few days looks favourable and therefore what better way to spend a day or indeed an evening! The Branch Evening charter will take place on Thursday departing  Millport at 1805 and Largs at 1900 for a cruise to view the north Arran coast. Tickets are still available for this unique cruise by calling 0845 130 4647 or from the Waverley website or buy your tickets on-board.

P Semple